Stories about Volunteer Advocate
State Capitol Days are here! Read how our Volunteer Advocates make a difference in supporting critical legislative and policy issues in their states — and how you can, too!
This year I will have lived my life longer without Tom than with him. But he is with me every time I tell his story, train a suicide prevention class, visit with a suicide loss survivor, and attend an Out of the Darkness walk.
Turning Listening into Legislation: Advocating for More Accessible and Affordable Mental Health Care
Your story is the opening to an ongoing conversation with your representatives. Our job as advocates is to make sure that listening becomes legislation.
People who knew my dad tried hard to make sense of his death with statements and questions such as these. The truth is that we all ask, “Why?” after losing someone to suicide. In fact, it’s in our very nature as human beings to understand the world around us by asking who, what, where, when, and why.
As a result of the dedication and perseverance of local field advocates, AFSP has become a lead voice in Oregon’s suicide prevention efforts statewide and played a large role in the enactment of several mental health and suicide prevention laws over the last three years.
Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and staff, this past year we saw the successful passage of five federal bills and 27 state bills in support of our top public policy priorities.
Mental health parity is one of AFSP’s public policy priorities. Simply put, mental health parity means that insurance companies and health plans must cover mental health care the same way they cover other medical care, without any extra restrictions for mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to hold the Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. this year. In lieu of being able hold the event in-person, on June 22 volunteer Field Advocates, members of Congress, and AFSP staff from across the country gathered together virtually for the 2020 Advocacy Forum.
Walking and fundraising was something active that I could do. Slowly, through action, I began to heal.
Speaking openly about my own struggles, sharing my story and having a #RealConvo about mental health has led me to a deeper understanding of both myself and others, and turned my former Achilles’ heel into a source of strength and power.